Boone County Commission Searches for New Fairgrounds Manager

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BOONE COUNTY - The county commission does not have a plan for the future of the Boone County Fairgrounds and vendors are worried about their future with the site.

The Boone County Fair Board has leased the fairgrounds from the county commission since 1999. The fair board recently ended the lease agreement with the commission and has forced the commission to find new management. So now, according to Commissioner Ed Robb, the county commission is working to find a new party to lease the land after George Harris and the fair board resigns Oct. 1, but has no interested parties right now. 

Some vendors are upset because they don't have the security of knowing they will work on the fairgrounds in the future. 

"It makes me uneasy because everyone by human nature is scared of the unknown and with the fair board, we have a good working relationship," said Kent Sapp, a fairgrounds vendor. "I voiced my concerned last month with the commission."

Sapp said he isn't the only vendor worried about the future of their business and he is also worried about the fairgrounds possibly closing. 

"I'm looking at losing a lot of money and business," said Sapp. 

The county fairgrounds has about three to six vendors come in each month and many more have signed contracts for 2012. 

The county commission said it will honor those contracts for next year, but can't promise anything to vendors after that. Robb says new management will decide what will happen with vendors. 

"We don't have enough background information or experience in regards to the fairgrounds to guarantee any multi-year contracts at this point," said Ed Robb of the county commission. 

The commission's plan right now is to find a party to lease the fairgrounds from the county. If that doesn't happen, it's next plan is to create a county paid position for someone to serve as manager. 

Wednesday, the county commission will meet to discuss the criteria for a management group and decide where to go from here.